Sadness has landed on me like a weighted vest this morning. Walking through a conflict of justice with those who do harm not out of malice but out of ignorance is messy, disorienting and exhausting. The bottom line struck me out of a sentence Terrell wrote to some friends this morning as he was processing his current position. He is advocating that friends of ours who are involved with the place where Martha Jane is not welcome continue to be there because that will better serve redemptive ends long term, “so that our world actually stays connected to the world of those that are shutting her out.” This is the reality, that others are intentionally and unapologetically shutting her out, that brings the tears and tightens the weighted vest. But Terrell’s words sure sound like the Gospel, compelling us to move toward others even though it costs us.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Is. 53:5
There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother and He knows what it is to be misunderstood, unjustly judged and rejected by the very ones He came to serve, love and ultimately redeem. And that is our hope, that He is redeeming His creation and restoring shalom.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
What I love about these verses is that big word “if”…Ha ha! “IF there is any offensive way in me…” Um, yeah, I’m going to guess the answer is unequivocally “Yes.” I have excluded others countless times because I feared the cost would be too great, that if I once said “yes” to their desire for my conversation or time or energy, they would suck it dry and take more than I was willing to give. This really shouldn’t be stated in the past tense.
Re-creation, resurrection and redemption always begin with a flood, with death, with the mortification of the sin and weeds and disease. By His wounds, thankfully, we are healed. Lord, please have mercy on us in the midst of the painful process. And please, Lord, let our groaning look forward to shouts of joy on that Day, when faith is made sight.